Does switching AC between cool and heat harm your system?

Does switching AC between cool and heat harm your system?
An East Texas family's thermostat reads 48 degrees while their power is out, caused by the winter storm. (Source: KLTV)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The weather lately has kept Central Alabama on its toes: cold in the morning. Warm in the afternoon.

The active weather for some means switching the thermostat between heat and cooling but is that a good idea?

According to our research, it’s ok to switch back and forth between the two but it’s how you switch that could cause a problem.

According to evolved mechanical, switching between AC and heating is fine if you don’t short-cycle the system.

Short cycling is when your AC is turned on and off too quickly. It can put unnecessary stress on your system. You can avoid short cycling by keeping your thermostat turned off for 5-10 minutes after the AC unit shuts down; then, according to experts, it should be fine to switch over.

But if you don’t take care, short cycling can also cause higher energy bills and even trip your fuse or circuit breaker.

We spoke with Alabama Power who says now is a good time to get your system checked out.

" Your energy usage is entirely dependent on where you set your thermostat. This is the ideal time of year when it’s tempered outside to have some work done. And think about switching over permanently to a summertime use. It’s a good time to call an HVAC company to come in and clean your ducts and make sure everything is in working order,” spokesperson Ike Pigott said.

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